In the spring of 2018, Culturespaces and the Musée Jacquemart-André will be holding a major retrospective devoted to Mary Cassatt (1844–1926). Considered during her lifetime as the greatest American artist, Cassatt lived in France for more than sixty years. She was the only American painter to have exhibited her work with the Impressionists in Paris.
The female representative of impressionism
The exhibition focuses on the only American female artist in the Impressionist movement; she was spotted by Degas in the 1874 Salon, and subsequently exhibited her works alongside those of the group. This monographic exhibition will enable visitors to rediscover Mary Cassatt through fifty major works, comprising oils, pastels, drawings, and engravings, which, complemented by various documentary sources, will convey her modernist approach — that of an American woman in Paris.
A franco-american approach of painting
Born into a wealthy family of American bankers with French origins, Mary Cassatt spent a few years in France during her childhood, continuing her studies at the Pennsylvania Fine Arts Academy, and eventually settled in Paris. Therefore, she lived on both continents. This cultural duality is evident in the distinctive style of the artist, who succeeded in making her mark in the male world of French art and reconciling these two worlds.
The originality of her vision
Just like Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt excelled in the art of portraiture, to which she adopted an experimental approach. Influenced by the Impressionist movement and its painters who liked to depict daily life, Mary Cassatt’s favourite theme was portraying the members of her family, whom she represented in their intimate environment. Her unique vision and modernist interpretation of a traditional theme such as the mother and child earned her international recognition. Through this subject, the general public will discover many familiar aspects of French Impressionism and Postimpressionism, along with new elements that underscore Mary Cassatt’s decidedly American identity.
A prestigious selection
The exhibition will bring together a selection of exceptional works loaned from major American museums, such as Washington’s National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Terra Foundation in Chicago; works will also be loaned by prestigious institutions in France — the Musée d’Orsay, the Petit Palais, INHA, and the BnF (French National Library) — and in Europe, such as the Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, and the Bührle Foundation in Zurich. There will also be many works from private collections. Rarely exhibited, these masterpieces will be brought together in the exhibition for the first time.
Sponsors of the exhibition
Dr. Nancy Mowll Mathews is Eugénie Prendergast Senior Curator and Lecturer, Emerita from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She has been researching, publishing, and organizing exhibitions on Mary Cassatt for several decades and is an internationally acclaimed expert.
Pierre Curie is chief curator of heritage. Specialist of Italian and Spanish painting of the XVIIth century, he has also worked on the French painting of the XIXth century at the Musée du Petit Palais, where he started his career. He became head of the painting sector of the restoration department for the Centre de recherche et de restauration des Musées de France in 2007. Currently director of the Revue de l’Art, Pierre Curie is curator of the Musée Jacquemart-André since January 2016.
Appointed head of cultural programming and exhibitions for Culturespaces in 2017, Beatrice Avanzi is in charge of the Musée Jacquemart-André, the Musée Maillol and the Hôtel de Caumont-Center d’Art. As conservator of the Musée d’Orsay’s painting department since 2012, she curated major exhibitions such as The Douanier Rousseau - Archaic Candour or Beyond the Stars. The mystical landscape from Monet to Kandinsky.
Agnès Wolff, head of exhibitions, Eleonore Lacaille, exhibitions manager at the Musée Jacquemart-André and Amélie Carrière, régisseur at Culturespaces, have also played an important role in the organization and realization of this exhibition Culturespaces.
Hubert Le Gall is a French designer, creator and sculptor of contemporary art. Since 2000 he has produced original scenographies for exhibitions, such as for the Musée Jacquemart-André.